The 5 P’s from InstaGrateful by Sheri Fink

The 5 P’s from InstaGrateful by Sheri Fink

It was an honor to receive an autographed copy of Sheri Fink‘s newest book, InstaGrateful: Finding Your Bliss in a Social Media World. From the intro, I knew that Sheri and I share a similar outlook on life and her inspiration is the same inspiration which led me to starting this very blog – to inspire others to create a dream-come-true life! I flew through this book in a day and a half.

In Sheri’s words, “The lotus is the symbol for the book as it represents beauty blooming from the mud and sludge in which many of us feel trapped in today’s hyper-busy, highly distracted social media world.” What a beautiful and encouraging sentiment! The lotus visual really resonates with me as I’m sure it does with many others.

This self-help book is unique as Sheri walks us through strategies on how to lead a life filled with the five P’s — Passion, Peace, Power, Prosperity, and Panache while pairing each of the P’s with the best social media platform to aid in achieving that particular P.

Let’s get to it! I won’t spoil too much for you, but these 5 P’s are excellent words to live by!

photo of Sheri Fink and InstaGrateful

Here is a breakdown of the 5 P’s from InstaGrateful by Sheri Fink:

#1. Passion

Love what you do and do what you love, am I right? I think it can be easy to get swept up in what you see other people doing on social media and follow the herd. Instead, you should explore your own unique passions that bring you joy and implement your passions into your life as much as possible.


Sheri ties Passion to Facebook which couldn’t be more accurate. In our recent political climate, I would say that people’s passions definitely came through in some controversial posts with strings of comment threads. While these threads can be quite entertaining, they can also be detrimental to our well-being and relationships. Now, I think that’s the worst side of Facebook’s curated passion. To flip the script, you can join and create Facebook groups to connect and have conversations with others who have shared passions and post to your friends about your passions. When you share that you love a certain place, book, restaurant, hobby, etc, it can be really exciting to discover who in your network shares those same passions!

Follow us on Facebook! Here is Sheri’s Facebook page, and here is my Facebook page.

#2. Peace

When I think of peace, I think of practicing yoga and avoiding triggering situations. What brings you peace? Repeatedly I hear about the benefits of journaling and meditating for peace but I must admit, that I haven’t quite worked those into my routine yet. The closest that I have gotten to journaling is this blog and writing down my to do list. I find peace in getting everything out of my head and onto paper and then crossing off each completed item. Ah, bliss.


Would you agree that using Pinterest makes you feel relaxed? Sheri says, “I find Pinterest to be more self-driven and less reliant on interactions with others. I use Pinterest as a personal, virtual vision board with the goals and adventures I hope to have in the future.”

Pinterest can be the source of inspiration for a plethora of things. When I’m trying to decide on what color to paint my nails, home decor ideas, popular haircuts, recipes, etc I often peruse Pinterest. Additionally, I do use it for work as well. When ideating and visualizing for design projects, I will use Pinterest to search for photos for mood boards and I must admit that it is a fun, enjoyable process.

Follow us on Pinterest! Here is Sheri’s Pinterest and here is my Pinterest.

photo of My Bliss Book journal by Sheri Fink

If journaling does bring you peace, check out Sheri’s My Bliss Book for an inspiring 12 week journey.

#3. Power

I think we can all agree that feeling empowered is important. You can feel powerful when you overcome a fear or anxiety that was holding you back, when you move your body and feel fit, and when you stand up for what you believe in and empower others.


The power of Twitter is instantaneous. You can get the most up-to-date news, stay connected, and have your voice heard. This is the easiest platform to post quickly in real time and to see trending topics. Knowledge is power!

Follow Sheri on Twitter! Here is Sheri’s Twitter account.

#4. Prosperity

Having financial security, happiness, and health all tie into leading a prosperous life. It’s hard to flourish and thrive without these factors. Your career and business opportunities often factor into prosperity and feeling successful.


Having a LinkedIn account is one of the best things that you can do for your professional presence online. In addition to staying in touch with your professional connections, the platform has been huge asset for staying on top of industry trends, for finding job opportunities, and for hiring new talent.

Want to brighten up your LinkedIn connections in an instant? Here is Sheri’s LinkedIn Page. She is rocking rainbow colored hair in her profile photo. Which leads me right into our final P…

#5. Panache

Panache, pronounced puh-nash means “flamboyant confidence of style or manner”. The word panache is definitely not used regularly enough, I love it! I think that Sheri is a great example of someone who lives her life with panache.

This reminds me of the popular saying, “Never let anyone dull your sparkle.” Being confident in who you are and outwardly expressing it is the best thing that you can do for yourself and the world.


It makes sense that my favorite P word would be paired with my favorite social media platform. Instagram is fun and easy to use. It is very photo heavy and visual and with features such as stories and reels, you can effectively display your unique personality and panache.

Catch our latest and greatest on Instagram. Here is Sheri’s Instagram and here is my Instagram.

photo of Sheri and her husband and their Whimsical World characters
Surprise! Sheri and her husband, Derek also write empowering children’s books! Make sure to check out their Whimsical World empire as well.

Who better to write a self help book than an inspirational speaker who believes in magic? Thank you for this delightful read, Sheri! Incorporating or improving the presence of these 5 P’s IRL is much more important than improving your social media presence. Your true happiness offline is more important than your highlight reel of happiness online. If social media can amplify your happiness and be a means of sharing your happiness, than by all means, embrace it and use it for good! I find that reading books like InstaGrateful by Sheri Fink help me further achieve that happiness offline.

You can purchase InstaGrateful: Finding Your Bliss in a Social Media world on Amazon or through Sheri’s website.

I applaud self-published authors like Sheri. My friend, Annie Franceschi is also a self-published author. If you enjoy supporting these authors as much as I do, check out 5 Reasons Why You Should Read Permission To Try By Annie Franceschi as well and get a copy of these authors’ books to read pronto!

Why You Should Join a Book Club

Why You Should Join a Book Club

Have you ever heard someone talking about their Book Club and it sparked intrigue and made you wonder why or if you should join a Book Club? Before I joined one, I wasn’t sure of the benefits, however, I quickly realized that I love being a part of a Book Club and I encourage you to join one too!

Why should a modern woman join a Book Club?

I have been an avid reader since I was a child. During the summers as a kid, I would sign up for the local public library’s reading lists and reading challenges. When the Harry Potter books were released, I was always in line at 12am to get a copy and would then start reading them overnight. However, as I got older and life started to become busier and busier, the number of books that I had time to read drastically decreased.

As an adult, participating in a Book Club got me reading again! Having monthly books and commitments kept me on track, I found new ways to enjoy books by participating in discussions about them afterwards, and I gained a new sense of community with my Book Club friends.

I clearly remember my first Book Club gathering. One of my friends had asked me to attend and I only knew a few familiar faces in the group.

I remember leaving Book Club and reflecting on my experience and LOVING it. I couldn’t wait until the next month’s Book Club! It was something that I looked forward to and cherished every month as my friendships with these ladies also continued to grow and deepen.

photo of Book Club
Photos by Mikkel Paige

I asked some of my Book Club friends, “What do you love about being a part of a Book Club?” and here are their responses.

photo of Alison Roane
Alison Roane

“I love having a dedicated monthly chat with friends about something we enjoy. Even if no one read the book that month, just getting dressed up and having a few drinks with friends is a treat!

We chose books as a group, so there was always a book I hadn’t read yet or heard of. It also kept me from only reading nonfiction or self-help books. “

Charity Van Horn

“Initially, Book Club drew me in for all that was familiar. It was a chance to stay connected with friends who had busy lives and jobs and Book Club provided a commitment, consistency, a reason to keep a date with these girls.

Yet over time, it was the differences that became Book Club’s greatest intrigue. From book selections I would not have read on my own to diverging life experiences and stories of our pasts. Few things have broadened and enriched my life more than the regular exposure to new titles and old friends.”

photo of Kristin Taber Wolfe
Kristin Taber Wolfe

“I’d always assumed that I wasn’t the Book Club type but Book Club has given me some of my closest friends.  While we discussed the books, most of our time was spent sharing our lives and chatting about superficial and monumental life events. 

I was exposed to ideas and viewpoints I never would have encountered otherwise.  And when my life came crashing down in an unexpected way, it was the women from my Book Clubs who were loyal and came and pursued me in my grief.  They opened up and shared their own experiences that gave me courage and helped me to take the next steps to rebuild a life I was proud of and could enjoy. 

So many very important things happen when you get to discuss other people’s stories.  You get a small window to step through and have the freedom to discuss your own story.  A lot has changed over the years for us all but one thing is consistent.  Every month we show up to keep reading, drinking, talking, and laughing.  Together.”  

It turns out that joining a Book Club further enriched our lives even beyond the books.

photo of Charity and Kristin at the mimosa bar

There are Huge Social Benefits

As adults, I will often hear people say that the older you get the harder it gets to meet people and to form new friendships. Book Club is a great way to meet people and it naturally creates intriguing conversations where you can bond and form new friendships.

Often the conversation would stray from the book itself and after Book Club concluded, I would talk to my friends as we walked out to our cars and eventually would text, call, or hang out with them on my own apart from Book Club gatherings.

There are Huge Intellectual Benefits

In addition to reading a book that you may not have chosen on your own, during the discussions of each book, you will hear all sorts of different perspectives and interpretations of the material. It broadens your horizons to different viewpoints and opinions that make you appreciate books that much more. Recreational reading can also be extremely rewarding and transformative!

Book Club group photo

There you have it! The reasons why you should join a Book Club are crystal clear. What are you waiting for? Book Clubs are about more than just the books. A supportive, fun community full of some deep friendships often forms!

photo of Book Club cocktail napkins
These adorable cocktail napkins pretty much sum it up! You can purchase them directly from the designer here.

Don’t know of a Book Club group that you can join? No worries! Here is How to Organize a Book Club. You can start small and just invite a few friends that you would like to participate and then the group will organically grow from there!

How To Organize a Book Club

How To Organize a Book Club

Do you want to start a Book Club? Great! But, what is the best way to organize a Book Club with people’s busy schedules? You will have to figure out the how, when, why, who, where, and what in order to organize your Book Club.


Initially our Book Club communicated via email however, we ended up creating a private Facebook group. Once you set up how to communicate with the group, you can determine when you will meet.

private facebook group photo
It would be really fun to get everyone together for a group shot for your Facebook group’s cover photo too!


We held our Book Club gatherings once a month on the second Monday of the month at 7pm.

I do not recommend holding your Book Club any more frequently than once a month. People need time to obtain the book and to read the book before your next meeting.

Determining a standing date is always best whenever possible however, holidays, summer vacations, work obligations, etc can often get in the way. If you find that the standing date does not work for the majority of the group in the upcoming month, it might be worth switching it up that month for better attendance. In our group, everyone was so busy during the month of December with the holidays, that we never read a book that month, we just met for a holiday social.

In the past, I have loved using Doodle polls to determine the best time to meet. However, it appears that Doodle is no longer free, so utilizing Facebook’s poll feature is a great alternative!

facebook poll photo


Why did you choose a particular book for the group to read? Our Book Club created a rule that the chosen book must have been read by someone in the group in advance who can vouch that the book is worthy. Eventually, we ended up determining that if it was your birthday month, you got to choose the book read in your month. If there were no birthdays that month, that’s when we would discuss as a group to decide on a book. It helped ensure that there was a variety in our book choices!

birthday calendar image
This also helps the birthday girl feel celebrated!


Who should be a part of your Book Club? I recommend keeping your Book Club group pretty intimate. If it gets too large, it will be harder to organize and you want everyone to be able to be a part of each discussion when you meet. I would try not to exceed 12-15 people. You can always start much smaller to have room for the group to grow organically.

In order to best distribute the work, we had two rotating hosts each month. The Book Host acts as the discussion moderator and develops questions for the group to keep the conversation going. The questions must be ambiguous enough that someone who did not read the book can still participate.

book club question card
A good tip for getting everyone involved is for the Book Host to create a question card for each person who will be in attendance and pass out them out randomly so that everyone takes turns reading their question and leading the discussion. (This photo and the following photos are by Mikkel Paige)


The second host, the House Host, hosts the Book Club at their home or chosen location. They are also responsible for providing food and beverages for the group. Want to decorate for your Book Club? Here are my 6 Book Club Decor Ideas.

photo of book club host and guests


What is a must have for Book Club gatherings? There must be booze or else it will be a snooze! I know, I’m hilarious.

photo of clinking champagne flutes
Cheers to that!

And most of all don’t forget, the point of having a Book Club is to have fun and to get to know the other ladies in your group! If the conversation diverts from that month’s book, that is totally ok!

6 Book Club Decor Ideas

6 Book Club Decor Ideas

When it was my turn to host my Book Club group, my apartment was too small to accommodate everyone so I held it at The Glass Box in Downtown Raleigh instead. The book was Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling and I decided to go all out with the style and decor inspired by the contents of the book and the book cover. Coming up with decor ideas is not always easy so I wanted to share 6 Book Club decor ideas.

photo of Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

It was October, so I challenged myself to create an unconventional fall look out of shades of blue, white, and gold details.

photo of Mollyann decorating
My outfit even matched the theme! All photos by Mikkel Paige

Here are my 6 Book Club Decor Ideas

photo of tablescape
Linens + Flatware: CE Rental | Floral Design: Eclectic Sage

Decor Idea #1: Use spray-painted books.

photo of book decor

I went to a used Book Store and filled several boxes full of 10 cent books. When buying books, I looked for books that were various shades of blue as well as some that could be any color as I planned to spray those books gold. Mixing the blue books with the gold spray painted books throughout the room added some dimension and cohesiveness.

Decor Idea #2: Make personalized bookmark place card favors.

photo of bookmark place card

Who doesn’t like something personalized with their name on it? I painted blank white book marks with watercolor and wrote everyone’s names in a modern gold font on each bookmark. It was functional as everyone had their own place at the table and at the end of the evening, I encouraged everyone to take their bookmarks home as a favor. It certainly beats using receipts/other random pieces of paper as a bookmark!

Decor Idea #3: Set up a DIY Mimosa Bar.

photo of mimosa bar

Who says that food and bev doesn’t count as decor? A DIY serve yourself mimosa bar is always a good idea to have at a gathering with a bunch of ladies! Here I paired the champagne with pink lemonade, orange juice, and cranberry juice.

The confetti flag banner and the ice bucket are both from Target.

Decor Idea #4: Serve “Book Worms”.

photo of book worms

At the mimosa bar, gummy worms were served as “book worms”. The ladies could add a book worm to their mimosas, drape them over the edge of their champagne flutes for a fun look, or just snack on them.

Here you can also see a closeup of one of the white pumpkins. Pumpkins always make for wonderful fall decor. I took a gold paint pen and painted the stems of the pumpkins gold.

Decor Idea #5: Display the actual book.

photo of book and food display

I always bring a copy of each month’s Book Club book with me to Book Club gatherings for an Instagrammable photo op. Here I added the book itself to the food display. For some fun food options, I created a DIY charcuterie board, fruit skewers, and salads in a jar.

Decor Idea #6: Don’t forget dessert!

photo of cake and cupcakes

For dessert, I enlisted the expertise of Sugar Euphoria to create a cake wrapped in sugar paper adorned with pages from the book itself (I had to since Mindy Kaling loves cake so much!) and The Cupcake Shoppe made complimentary cupcakes sprinkled with gold glitter.

photo of Mollyann with floral arrangement

There you have it! My 6 Book Club Decor Ideas. For more photos and dreamy details, visit The Perfect Palette’s blog post, A Spectacular Book Club with Mimosas and Mindy Kaling.

5 Reasons Why You Should Read Permission to Try by Annie Franceschi

5 Reasons Why You Should Read Permission to Try by Annie Franceschi

Now, the easiest way to write a blog post about Permission to Try: 11 Things You Need to Hear When You’re Scared to Change Your Life by Annie Franceschi would be to list out those 11 things that you need to hear. Sorry, but that’s not going to happen – you need to discover those 11 things by reading the book and by doing the exercises yourself in order to really benefit and to make necessary changes.

First of all, are you constantly asking yourself“What’s my purpose?” • “What if I fail?” • “What will other people say?”

These are the doubts that keep you from making a career change, starting a business, or reinventing yourself! From the other side of fear, brand creator and speaker Annie Franceschi is here to give you the answers to the questions that keep you up at night: the powerful objections that keep you from changing your life for the better. Whether you’re facing a quarter-life crisis or just wondering if there’s more you’re meant for, this is the pep talk you’ve been needing! It’s time to find your purpose in this career advice book of hard-won personal stories, funny anecdotes, and helpful exercises on how to take risks, switch careers, and reinvent yourself. Discover the motivation to begin a new chapter with Annie’s best professional and life advice from quitting her Hollywood dream job, ditching Corporate America, and starting a passionate, profitable business on her own terms. Are you ready to have permission to change your life? Find out by diving into Permission to Try.

Meet our Brand Creator/Speaker/Author, Annie Franceschi!

It would be a dishonor to introduce Annie Franceschi in any other way than her three hard-earned entrepreneurial titles of brand creator, speaker, and author.

photo of Annie Franceschi holding Permission to Try
Annie Franceschi with her first published book! Photo by Faith Teasley Photography

With 10+ years in storytelling, Annie Franceschi is a bestselling author, speaker, and small business branding expert based in Durham, NC. In 2013, she quit a dream job at Walt Disney Studios to start her own agency, Greatest Story Creative®. Having branded more than 90 businesses, spoken for thousands, and released a #1 self-help book (Permission to Try), Annie is a passionate partner to entrepreneurs who want to unlock the value of their stories.

I first heard Annie speak years ago about her brilliant branding tactic of telling your story through your branding. When starting up this blog and designing my branding and logo, I kept Annie’s branding advice at the forefront of my mind and even wrote about her in my post, UNPACKING THE BACKPACK | INTENTIONAL LOGO DESIGN.

If hearing her speak all of those years ago was enough to inspire me now, I knew that her book was sure to give me the permission to try and to encourage me to continue on the path of changing my life.

photo of Permission to Try

5 Reasons Why You Should Read Permission to Try

Reason #1: The “one path” is bullshit.

You know the path that I’m talking about. The one where you take all of the steps in order to make it to your dream job or career. What happens when you get yourself pretty far down that path to only come to realize that it’s no longer serving you or to realize that it wasn’t meant for you after all?

When you stray off of the “one path” often your closest friends and family will freak out which only leads you to internally freaking out as well.

I think that many people find themselves on a particular career path then after living in that particular career day in and day out, they come to the realization that it is not for them after all. Even feeling this way, our parents’ generation tends to stay on that path whereas millenials have started changing paths or finding new paths.

“If you know in the back of your mind that things aren’t right, know that it’s normal for this to happen. It’s not something you have to be paralyzed in fear about; fear just keeps you going down the wrong road.”

Annie Franceschi

This book will help you create your own path just like Annie did.

Reason #2: Annie is the cheerleader that you never knew you needed.

What I love so much about Annie and her business, Greatest Story Creative, is that she helps others tell their story through intentional, cohesive branding . The belief in the importance of telling and sharing stories was one of the main factors of why I wanted to start a blog.

“If you have ever felt like your story doesn’t make sense, consider that you might be too close to the action. If I’ve discovered anything in writing and presenting more than 50 of these ‘Brand Voice Guides’ in the past five years, it’s this: Your story is powerful, and it’s going to make sense in the end. I promise.”

Annie Franceschi

It’s true, sometimes I think that you can be too close to your own story to be able to tell it in the best way. Have you ever struggled writing your bio or an “About Me” statement? Me too! This is where Annie comes in and helps you define and articulate your greatest story.

photo of the Permission to Try Book Launch
Even a cheerleader needs cheerleaders! Here are Annie’s cheerleaders at her Book Launch. Photo by Brubeck Photography

Reason #3: It will help you get unstuck.

Have you ever just felt stuck and not sure where to go or how to move forward with your career? Some of my favorite suggestions that she shares are to reflect way back to the things that you have been good at and enjoyed since childhood, to tell people about your dreams, and to take action and risk to move towards change.

When you tell people about your dream, a magical thing tends to happen. People begin to help you make that dream a reality.

Annie Franceschi

Once people offer connections or opportunities that will help, say yes and go for it! You never know what it will lead to.

Reason #4: It’s relatable.

Annie shares real stories of having to move back in with her dad, making the decision to pursue her own business venture full time, and even getting a dog that didn’t work out. She was not afraid of walking us through her failures and to show how she moved through them.

Personally, I enjoy Annie’s story because she dabbled with a small wedding business, created a blog, and ended up living back home – all things that are very familiar to me. I found myself able to relate to where she was coming from, and her stories and real life examples helped prompt my own thoughts about my personal situation so that I could easily apply them to the exercises.

She also shares situations that brought her to tears and made her feel afraid and worried. There is no sugar coating here!

“I was worried I wouldn’t make enough money and that I’d embarrass myself if I really tried this entrepreneurship thing for real.”

Annie Franceschi
photo of Annie holding Permission to Try
If Annie had let her worries or fear of embarrassment hold her back, we wouldn’t have this wonderful book today! Photo by Faith Teasley Photography

Reason #5: The exercises and resources are so helpful.

Recently I had dinner with a friend and she said that when she was ready to make a career change, she took an assessment online and it gave her a list of careers that would be a good fit for her interests, personality, and experiences and then she a got a job in one of the recommended fields.

Often assessments, exercises, and putting pen to paper are successful tools.

In addition to her 11 “Take Action Exercises”, a list of book titles that she referenced in her book and her online resource library, Annie includes her personal email address in Permission to Try as well. It’s truly amazing and reinforces the fact that she is genuinely happy to help!

This book is definitely staying on my shelf so that I can easily pick it up and read it again, work through some of the exercises, and reference her plethora of resources the next time that I am feeling stuck and craving change!

Try one of her exercises out for yourself! A free exercise from the book, “3 Steps for Finding a New Direction” is available at 

Back to Business Virtual Book Club logo

You’re Invited! Permission to Try Virtual Book Club hosted by the Back to Business Conference – Wednesday, July 8th from 12-1:15pm EST

Have you ever participated in a Book Club where the author was in attendance? Well now is your chance!

Join us for the best lunch break ever on Wednesday, July 8th at 12pm EST to discuss Permission to Try with Annie Franceschi herself. It is perfect for women who are returning to work, considering starting their own business, or have a big dream of any kind that hasn’t yet manifested.

Register for the Virtual Book Club for free and purchase your favorite way to enjoy the book – Paperback, Kindle, or Audible.

Stay in Touch with Annie!

Above all, I want to thank Annie for her encouragement and for her ability to articulate stories for those people and businesses who are unable to find the right words to express themselves. She has extraordinary talent!

Follow along with her on Instagram at @annie.franceschi and join us on July 8th to continue this conversation! I know that she will make an impact on you just like she made one on me all of those years ago.

5 Lessons from Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

5 Lessons from Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Saying Yes in a Year of No

When I ordered the Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, I thought that it felt ironic as 2020 has been more like the big fat Year of No.

I had started 2020 thinking that it would hands down be my biggest Year of Yes yet. Sean and I had said yes to moving across the world. I had said yes to leaving my job to pursue this new adventure. I had said yes to wanting to start a program in order to expand my education and to upskill. These yeses were sure to introduce me to opportunities that would be full of saying yes to things that scared me and challenged me. Personal growth was a guarantee! This was going to be my year of self discovery! YES! YES! YES!

Then our visa process got delayed. NO! Then a global pandemic which caused Australia to close their borders. NO! This year has been relentless and continues to feel like one roadblock after another.

Here I am trying to say YES!!! and so many doors have closed with big fat NOs. Life feels like it is on pause. So how do I say yes now? How do I move forward from here even when I am trying to say yes? Please Shonda, tell me and shed some light. Maybe I do need this book now more than ever.

How Shonda Started her Year of Yes

Shonda is the critically acclaimed and award-winning creator and executive producer of the hit television series Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Scandal and the executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder and The Catch. You may have heard of some of these series… Her Shondaland empire is kind of a big deal!

photo of Shonda Rhimes with Shondaland director's chair

Even with her wild success, Shonda still found herself feeling miserable. Her wake up call was when her sister called her out and said,

“You never say yes to anything.”

All she was doing was working. She had been telling herself that she was too busy to do anything else. I think many people can relate. She declared that she would say yes to things that scared her for a year. Why? She determined that:

  • Saying no has gotten me here.
  • Here sucks.
  • Saying yes might be my way to someplace better.
  • If not a way to someplace better, at least to someplace different.

With a year of saying yes to things that scared her, Shonda experienced many life-changing revelations and lessons.


Shonda really drove this point home when she gave her Dartmouth commencement speech. She told the graduating class of ’14 that dreaming would not get them anywhere, she encouraged them to get out there and do.

“I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, powerful, engaged people? Are busy doing.”

Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes

Also, #StopPretendingHashtagsAreTheSameAsDoingSomething. Really do the work!



You don’t want to be a pushover and just say yes to anything. Being able to say no and to be direct about your no, can actually make more room for the right yeses and to rid yourself of added drama and wasted time. Here are the ways that she advises that you can say no:

  1. I am going to be unable to do that.
  2. That is not going to work for me.
  3. No.

“One. Word.


No is a powerful word. To me, it’s the single most powerful word in the English language. Said clearly, strongly and with enough frequency and force, it can alter the course of history.”

Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes

Additionally, has anyone ever said anything offensive or off-putting to you and instead of addressing it in that moment, you obsess over it and let it bother you for days and days on end? I love Shonda’s idea of saying, “What do you mean by that?” I am definitely going to try that response the next time that I find myself in that situation!

“When someone says something petty or nasty, one of those little passive-aggressive things that would usually just pick at me for days, my new response is not to shut the door and bitch to anyone who will listen. Now? The moment they say it? I ask, ‘What did you mean by that?’ in a calm voice.”

Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes



“I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard. Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.”

Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes

Shonda says that women have a hard time accepting compliments and praise for their accomplishments and it’s true. I always feel so uncomfortable interviewing and talking about myself and my achievements. Ladies, this is unacceptable! We need to practice badassery. When someone compliments you simply say, “thank you” no excuses, ands, buts, or ifs! Talk about your accomplishments and hard work with pride rather than taking a modest, meek approach. Let’s normalize it so that we no longer feel this way!

photo of wonder woman

The Wonder Woman Pose with your hands on your hips and feet spread wide apart will make you feel more confident and badass. Give it a try! Shonda says so!



“I change the bottom of my email signature so that it now reads: Please Note: I will not engage in work emails after 7 pm or on weekends. IF I AM YOUR BOSS, MAY I SUGGEST: PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE.‘”

Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes

Then guess what? She actually does it! Before, she did not prioritize play. That playful part of her had been lost but by placing these boundaries, she was able to spend valuable time playing with her daugthers and re-discovering that fun part of herself again.



“I can experience life or I can give up on it.”


Don’t forget that you are worth experiencing life. If you have found yourself giving up on it, you can start your own Year of Yes and get back on the right track.


Have Shonda and I driven home the fact that saying YES will change your life? Good. Give her book a read and while you are at it, check out the other books that I have reviewed too.

Even though, this feels like the Year of No, I think that these are very valuable lessons and you can ALWAYS find ways to say YES to yourself and to finding someplace better, or at least to someplace different.

5 Liberating Takeaways from Untamed by Glennon Doyle

5 Liberating Takeaways from Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Recently published in March 2020, Glennon Doyle‘s most recent book, Untamed has already been added to Reese’s Book Club and the #1 New York Times Best Sellers lists. It’s eye-catching cover, accolades, and powerful description make it a must have for your bookshelf.

When reading Glennon’s memoir, you can feel how fired up she is about women finding their voices and paving their own paths as she has successfully done. She left her husband after he cheated on her and began to pursue a relationship with world renowned soccer player, Abby Wambach. Glennon writes about how she is now living her life in an unapologetic way that awakens her soul. She is finally living her life for herself and she explains through her breakthroughs and stories, why you should be doing the same.

photo of Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach
I love following these two on Instagram, @abbywambach + @glennondoyle

Here are my 5 biggest takeaways on how women can shift their mindset to live untamed, liberated, and free:

#1. Look inside, not outside for answers.

“The facts were right there in front of me to see. But the truth was right there inside of me to feel.”

Glennon Doyle, Untamed

When making decisions, Glennon has observed how females, including herself, tend to look to each other for approval. Rather than looking to others, Glennon believes that you should look inside yourself to your own Knowing for the answer. The Knowing is your inner individual consciousness and truth.

Have you ever made a big decision and went to others for their advice? I have found myself doing this less and less as everyone has their own opinions and often their input just ends up muddling what I really want. Try discovering the answer by finding stillness and looking inside yourself for how to proceed. Only you know what is best for YOU.

#2. It’s ok to feel.

“I did not know that I was supposed to feel everything. I thought I was supposed to feel happy.”

Glennon Doyle, Untamed

This one really hit home for me as I have been so frustrated with how society puts so much pressure on feeling good and happy. You are supposed to be a beam of positivity ALL OF THE TIME and that’s just not realistic. There are many situations in life where it is ok to feel sad, mad, confused, or down. Rather than numbing those feelings by staying busy, drinking, doing drugs, etc it is ok to sit with them for a minute and explore them and ask yourself why you feel that way. Your feelings are trying to tell you something, stop and listen. Learn from them. You do not have to stay in a bad place for long. I believe in giving yourself time to mourn and to work through those feelings before moving on; it’s the healthiest way to propel yourself forward.

a GIF of the grinch saying "help me! I'm feeling!"

It’s ok to feel a variety of emotions – it’s what makes you HUMAN (unlike the Grinch)!

#3. Be a model, not a martyr.

“Mothers have martyred themselves in their children’s names since the beginning of time. We have lived as if she who disappears the most, loves the most. We have been conditioned to prove our love by slowly ceasing to exist. What a terrible burden for children to bear—to know that they are the reason their mother stopped living. What a terrible burden for our daughters to bear—to know that if they choose to become mothers, this will be their fate, too. Because if we show them that being a martyr is the highest form of love, that is what they will become. They will feel obligated to love as well as their mothers loved, after all. They will believe they have permission to live only as fully as their mothers allowed themselves to live.”

Glennon Doyle, Untamed

“My children do not need me to save them. My children need to watch me save myself.”

Glennon Doyle, Untamed

I 100%, no 1000% agree with this! To be deemed a “good mom” society expects you to give up your wants and needs and play the martyr to your children. Rather than to suffer and to live your life for someone else, Glennon says that the best mother is one who lives their life as a model for their children.

“I was a good wife. I had three babies and put all their needs so far ahead of my own that I forgot I had needs at all. I was a good mom.”

Glennon Doyle, Untamed

#4. Being human is hard and you can do hard things.

“Being human is not hard because you’re doing it wrong, it’s hard because you’re doing it right.”

Glennon Doyle, Untamed

You can do hard things. WE CAN ALL DO HARD THINGS! Challenging yourself even if you fail will always be more rewarding than taking the easy route or not trying at all. Life is not supposed to be easy. I love working out and running, but you better bet that I tell myself that I can do hard things nearly the whole time to get through.

We Can Do Hard Things coloring page
You can download, print, and color this Untamed mantra page as a daily reminder.

#5. Be brave.

“Whether you are brave or not cannot be judged by people on the outside. Sometimes being brave requires letting the crowd think you’re a coward. Sometimes being brave means letting everyone down but yourself.”

Glennon Doyle, Untamed

I cannot and will not be peer pressured to do something that I do not want to do and you should not either. Just because other people are living their life a certain way, does not mean that you have to follow along. Stop and think if it really serves you. If not, be brave and do what feels right to you.

“Blessed are those brave enough to make things awkward, for they wake us up and move us forward.”

Glennon Doyle, Untamed

Speak your truth even if your voice shakes and it is the unpopular opinion. I have always spoken up for myself and always will. I have learned that I cannot find peace with something without doing so. Some may see it as being stubborn or as being abrasive, but you know what it really is? Being brave. “Say what you wanna say, make it mean everything.” is one of my favorite lyrics from the song ‘Let Go‘ by one of my favorite bands, Matt and Kim. You are brave and the world needs to hear your voice!

“Brave means living from the inside out. Brave means, in every uncertain moment, turning inward, feeling for the Knowing, and speaking it out loud.”

Glennon Doyle, Untamed

Thank you Glennon for writing such a profound memoir. She writes so much more about her struggles with addiction, bulimia, and divorce but I’m not here to spoil her book for you, I am here to encourage you to read it for yourself and to get fired up right along with her. Become a GD cheetah! (You’ll get that reference when you read the book.)

photo of a running cheetah

Interested in what other books that I think you should have on your bookshelf? Check out my other Book Reviews.

9 Ways to Cultivate a Creative Life Beyond Fear | Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

9 Ways to Cultivate a Creative Life Beyond Fear | Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

When I refer to “creative living,” I am speaking more broadly. I’m talking about living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.

Elizabeth Gibert

I earmarked the page with this quote on it – Page #9. I knew early on that Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert would resonate with my beliefs about leading a creative lifestyle and I was not wrong. Gilbert shared interesting theories and her personal insight to articulate creative living and the mysteries of inspiration in a resounding way.

Here are my 9 biggest takeaways if you want to invite creativity and provoke inspiration in your life:

#1. Don’t ask for permission

“You do not need anybody’s permission to live a creative life.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

Have you ever heard that it is better to ask for forgiveness than for permission? This definitely applies to living a creative lifestyle however, there should be no reason to need forgiveness. Often your closest friends , family, and loved ones will be skeptical of new endeavors. They raise their concerns and act as though they are doing you a favor. This will only put doubts in your mind. If something creative is calling to you, try and go for it! You don’t need anyone’s permission to do so.

#2. Keep moving

“If you can’t do what you long to do, go do something else. Go walk the dog, go pick up every bit of trash on the street outside your home, go walk the dog again, go bake a peach cobbler, go paint some pebbles with brightly colored nail polish and put them in a pile. You might think it’s procrastination, but – with the right intention – it isn’t; it’s motion. And any motion whatsoever beats inertia, because inspiration will always be drawn to motion.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

If you feel stuck on something that you are working on, just keep moving. I believe in moving your body for at least 30 minutes each day. My workouts keep me grounded, happy, and strong.⁠ But this is even more than just physically moving. Pick up a hobby even if it is unrelated to your main project. Right now, I have found myself knitting and embroidering. Any movement will spark creativity.

One of my biggest A-HA moments for a project came while I was not sitting and brainstorming but simply taking a scenic walk home from work.

#3. Act upon your ideas

”Inspiration is always trying to work with you. Trust it and it will trust you. The work wants to get made and it wants to be made through you.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

Have you ever had an amazing idea but you did not act upon it and then someone else did? Gilbert introduced a theory that ideas and “genius” find people and if that person does not bring that idea to life, it will move onto someone else who will bring it to life. Sometimes you aren’t at the right place to bring the idea to life due to limited resources or other factors that need your attention and focus and that’s ok. But if you say yes to the idea then it’s on! See it through!

#4. Relax and stay light

“So take your insecurities and your fears and hold them upside down by their ankles and shake yourself free of all your cumbersome ideas about what you require (and how much you need to pay) in order to become creatively legitimate.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

Stay unburdened and relaxed especially when pertaining to your creative endeavors. Do not put too much pressure on your creativity. Have you ever noticed that you feel inspired and creative while on vacation? Creative thoughts are often blocked or strained by stress. Allow yourself to slow down and relax and in return, inspiration will strike.

As I was writing this, my Apple watch agreed. Just breathe.

#5. Don’t be a tortured artist, embrace creativity with gratitude

“Every time you express a complaint about how difficult and tiresome it is to be creative, inspiration takes another step away from you, offended.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

It is common to think of artists as dark, deep people. Often, burdened with addictions and a traumatic past. They are depicted as being isolated while working on their craft and they complain about how hard it is to create their art. Others may view this as the model of an artist and feel that they have to unleash their darkest sides and complain in order to be successful.

This is not the case. Living a creative lifestyle should be enjoyable and bring happiness. You don’t need to feel tortured in order to dig into your creative calling.

#6. Dress to impress your creative side

“I might even put on perfume, for God’s sake. I don’t even put on perfume to go out to dinner, but I will put on perfume in an attempt to seduce creativity back to my side.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

Right now, I know that a lot of us our sporting our best loungewear, messy hair, and have likely started showering less. Often it is hard to find motivation in such a state. For me, a bold lip color is my superpower. It makes me feel confident and I swear that it attracts creativity. What do you wear that makes you feel this way?

Photo by Mikkel Paige Photography | Makeup by Makeup by Ashley Mooney

#7: Be Entitled

“Creative entitlement doesn’t mean behaving like a princess, or acting as though the world owes you anything whatsoever. No, creative entitlement simply means believing that you are allowed to be here, and that—merely by being here—you are allowed to have a voice and a vision of your own.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

I’m not talking about how everyone says that millenials are entitled. I have a friend who spoke to a group and then she declared herself a speaker. She didn’t wait until she had spoken for 10 years or headlined 20 conferences to declare herself a speaker, it only took that one time. After that, she created a website and reached out to people to book speaking engagements. Just like that.

I have had a blog for only a little over two weeks and I am now a blogger. I am also an event planner, an event designer, a marketing professional, a social media strategist, and a business developer as I have also done all of those things. However, people seem to shy away from such titles. Heck, I’ve even spoken to a group before, therefore, I am also a speaker.

I think this sense of entitlement also goes hand in hand with being confident and the “fake it before you make it” mentality. Don’t hold back from giving yourself a title.

“Defending yourself as a creative person begins by defining yourself.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

#8. Be Curious

“Do whatever brings you to life. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions and compulsions, trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart. The rest will take care of itself.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

If something is calling to you, try it! Pottery, gardening, yoga – go for it! Who knows where it will lead and what creative thoughts and connections it will unravel.

#9. Be Persistent

“I saw it as proof that you must never surrender, that no doesn’t always mean no, and that miraculous turns of fate can happen to those who persist in showing up.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

Living a creative lifestyle is living outside of your comfort zone. Of course there will be ups and downs but you have to appreciate the whole process and be persistent in your journey. Don’t get discouraged. Even if she wasn’t inspired, Gilbert would write for at least 30 minutes a day to perfect her craft in order to become the amazing writer that she is today.

Don’t be discouraged if someone else is further along than you or if they have already done it. It has not been done yet by you. There should be no excuses to indulge in what inspires you and makes you feel creative even it has been done before.

I know that I have always been drawn to creative endeavors, creative people, and a creative lifestyle. You too? You have to explore your creativity otherwise, you will find yourself being destructive and wondering why. Put your energy to good use! You will feel accomplished and proud of what you create.

“If I am not actively creating something, then chances are I am probably actively destroying something — myself, a relationship, or my own peace of mind.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

These are just 9 ways to cultivate a creative life beyond fear. Big Magic includes many more! Read it for yourself and see if this book inspires you to be more creative as well.

Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo | 7 Quotes + Book Review

Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo | 7 Quotes + Book Review

How One Simple Belief Can Help Us Overcome Any Obstacle and Create Unstoppable Success

I can not stop raving about Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo. I am having deja vu right now as I type this as I previously quoted Marie and mentioned her book in my very first post on this site. I knew that her book deserved it’s own post and a further elaborated review.

Everything is Figureoutable starts off with a story about Marie’s mom and how the mantra, “Everything is Figureoutable” became instilled in her life. After that story, she shares her struggles and successes which led her to discovering that being a life coach was her calling. In addition to her own stories, she interjects various and diverse stories from others who have incorporated her mantra into their lives and how it has helped them overcome struggles and pursue a better life. She also has included many exercises that you can do while reading the book. Be prepared to speak out loud and to have a paper and pen ready!

Here are 7 of my favorite quotes from Everything is Figureoutable:

At this very moment, you can choose to put yourself in either a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. One leads to a life of pain and stagnation. The other to endless growth and fulfillment.

Marie Forleo

You don’t have to get it perfect, you just have to get it going.

Marie Forleo

Starting small doesn’t mean thinking small.

Marie Forleo

The most powerful words in the universe are the words you say to yourself.

Marie Forleo

You can do whatever you set your mind to if you just roll up your sleeves, get in there, and do it. Everything is figureoutable.

Marie Forleo

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.

Marie Forleo

If it’s important enough, I’ll make the time. If not, I’ll make an excuse.

Marie Forleo

Have you ever heard to add the words “in bed” to the end of your fortune from a fortune cookie? Do it. It’s hilarious. On a serious note, Marie has an exercise where you add the word “yet” to the end of negative beliefs that you have about yourself.

For example:

  • I am not a good writer yet.
  • I am not fit yet.
  • I don’t drink enough water yet.
  • I’m not ready yet.

This is just one of the simple ways that Marie shows how you can simply rephrase your thoughts so that you can make life changing alterations.

You’ll want your own copy of this book. It is a must read! It has deepened my overall attitude towards life and inspired me to take action in ways that no other book has. I know that it will do the same for you too.

10 Quotes from Chasing the Bright Side by Jess Ekstrom | Book Review

10 Quotes from Chasing the Bright Side by Jess Ekstrom | Book Review

I am at that stage in my life where people that I know have been getting married, having kids, and writing books. Yes! I know several people who have become authors in recent years. It is so cool to support them and to read their hard work. You know how when you are growing up, you are encouraged to create something that will exist even after you are gone? Publishing a book is the real deal!

Jess is a fellow Wolfpacker from NC State University who created her business, Headbands of Hope, while she was still a student. Since college, she has continued to spearhead many successful efforts and events in the Raleigh community that I have attended over the years. Speaking of, I am virtually attending her first conference, The Bright Side Conference, today which is what inspired me to share her quotes and to review her book with you all.

In Chasing the Bright Side, Jess shares stories of her mistakes and victories in creating Headbands of Hope, of her internship at Disney, of having one of her short stories published in Chicken Soup for the Soul as a child, of her family losing their life savings, of attending improv classes to improve her speaking abilities, and so much more. She has a can do attitude that encourages others to go for it and to chase their calling. I am happy that she has shared her journey with the world. Her style of writing is just like having a conversation with a friend and it is a very enjoyable, feel good read.

I think that this book would be very beneficial for both adults and young adults to read. If young adults read this book before entering college, it may inspire them to accomplish more and to reach farther during their college career like Jess did.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

Hard times give a choice: the excuse to do less or the reason to do more.

Jess Ekstrom

If we have the ability to worry about the future, it also means we have the ability to imagine a better one.

Jess Ekstrom

Every expert was once a beginner.

Jess Ekstrom

Failure will always feel better than regret.

Jess Ekstrom

Optimism isn’t about being happy all of the time. It’s about understanding and digesting the hard stuff and still believing there will be good on the other side.

Jess Ekstrom

Boiling water can soften a potato but harden an egg. The same environment can produce two totally different results.

Jess Ekstrom

We can’t always control our experiences, but we can always write our story.

Jess Ekstrom

Are you as moved by Jess’s words as I am? This chief optimist has thought of everything and has a webpage dedicated to images with her quotes on them, sized perfectly for both your Instagram feed and for your Instagram story so that you can share her words of wisdom with ease.

Keep up the good work, Jess! Rooting for you!